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5:53pm 09/05/2022
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‘Overstaying’ Malaysians at Thai border fear for entry ban, fine

KANGAR: Thailand’s immigration records show that more than 100 Malaysians are still ‘stranded’ in Thailand, although they are physically in Malaysia!

These Malaysians who live at the Malaysia-Thai border used to commuting between the two countries with their 30-day border passes.

When the Malaysian government enforced the lockdown on March 18, 2020, many thought it was only a temporary measure and they should be able to get their border passes stamped before expiry.

They left Thailand without having their border passes stamped.

But the lockdown stretched for two years and Thailand’s records show that these people are still in Thailand!

The border has since reopened, but these Malaysians are afraid to travel to Thailand for fear of fine and imprisonment for “overstaying” in Thailand.

Ah Ming, who returned to Malaysian from southern Thailand without a stamp on his passport on March 17, 2020, is considered overstaying in Thailand. Click to enlarge

Ah Ming, 41, from Padang Besar, who used to live across the border at Padang Besa, Thailand, also known as Pekan Siam, is unable to return home now.

He left Thailand on March 17, 2020 with his 16-year-old son while his Thai wife remained in Thailand.

To return to Thailand now, Ah Ming will face a minimum fine of 30,000 baht (RM3,801). He could be banned from entering Thailand for three years.

Ah Ming, who earns RM1,500 a month, said the fine was a huge financial burden to him.

“If I am barred from entering Thailand, it will be another three years before I can reunite with my wife,” he said.

Ah Ming hopes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can help Malaysians in a similar situation by sorting out this matter with the Thai authorities.

A Padang Besa Thailand immigration spokesperson said Malaysians with expired border passes could go to the Malaysian consulate general in Songkhla to submit their applications for ‘official’ departure from Thailand between May 1 and 7.

By doing so, these people would be exempted from the penalty and entry ban.

However, this is not applicable to people traveling on international passports.

It was reported that more than 10,000 Malaysians overstayed in Thailand due to the lockdown.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed the report as baseless, as only 444 Malaysians had registered with the consulate. Of the 444 Malaysians, only 72 were on border passes.

The consulate has assisted 2,439 Malaysians to return home from Thailand.

Apart from being the 500 baht (RM64) daily fine for overstaying, Malaysians who overstay in Thailand will also be blacklisted by the Thai government.

Those who overstay fewer than 90 days will only be fined. For those exceeding one year, they will be barred from entering Thailand for three years.

Those exceeding three years in overstaying will be denied entry for five years while those exceeding five years will be barred from entering Thailand for ten years.

The penalty will be harsher if they are arrested.

Foreigners overstaying for less than a year will be denied entry for five years, if they are arrested by the Thai authorities. For those who exceed one year, the entry ban is for ten years.

Foreigners are to submit a health declaration form before entering Thailand. Click to enlarge

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